If you’re looking for a new home, your head may be turn when you visit a neighborhood that has pretty streets, perfectly manicured lawns, no garbage cans in sight, and no cars parked on the road. This is an idyllic setting, but you must stop and think about how this was achieved.
A Texas Hoa or homeowners association has a lot of power; and if you’re not careful, you can get into a lot of trouble especially if you’re buying a new home on a development that has yet to be finished. In Texas, as with many other States in the US, an HOA will remain under the control of the developers until at least 60-70% of the lots are sold, and this can take anything up to 6 years or more, so you have to take this into account.
Usually, an association like this will be governed by the residents, but as said, this doesn’t happen until the developers are happy to hand-over control. The developer would have to make sure that the presence of an HOA will encourage more buyers and enhance the value of the property. After all, the more pristine the area is, the more money it’s worth.
This is why you have to make sure you thoroughly check any covenants and deed restrictions that are in place. The rules can be many and you may inadvertently break them without realizing it. For example, you may be told there are to be no basketball goals attached to the house; this applies even if you only have a portable basketball goal out on the driveway. This could incur penalties and they’re not cheap at all.
In the most extreme cases, a Texas HOA could even have the power to foreclose your home and this can be very distressing; you won’t have much in the way of support from the legal system. This may all sound very scary and might put you off being part of a neighborhood that has beautifully manicured communal gardens, sparkling swimming pool, and state of the art tennis courts.
However, if you do your research properly, take your time, and seek proper legal advice prior to signing on the dotted line, you can avoid disasters like the one mentioned above. Aside from the restrictions that are in place, you should also research the fees and how they work.
Initially, they may seem like they won’t cost you much considering what you get in return. However, there are situations that can push the fees up. If the HOA is managed by an external company, they will have their own lawyers, and if a lawsuit is filed for some reason, the fees will be passed on to you. This is also true if the HOA has major assessments pending. There may be fees associated with this that will also be passed on to you. The message is, do your research and be completely knowledgeable before you sign anything.